Using the Indexes: New Jersey Births-Marriages-Deaths, 1901-03 and the Bride’s Index, 1901-14

Late in 2015, Reclaim the Records, a not-for-profit group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates, worked with the New Jersey State Archives to acquire the microfilm to the birth, marriage and death annual indexes for 1901, 1902, and 1903.  While speaking with the Archives, she was also able to submit a request for the Bride’s Indexes for 1904-09 and 1910-14.  You can read more about the project’s Records Request #5: New Jersey Birth, Marriage, and Death Indices, 1901-1903 and 1901-1914 on their website.

So what happens when the images are posted online?

In total, 29 rolls of microfilm were acquired and are being digitized for public use.  The digitized images will be hosted by the InternetArchive.  But will you be prepared to use the raw images?  A browsable image collection is wonderful, but you can waste time if you don’t know how to use it effectively.

Annual Indexes:  1901-1902-1903
For the years 1901 through 1903, all birth, marriage and death certificates are assigned a certificate number by each calendar year chronologically.  In theory, the lower the number the earlier in the year the registration took place and vice versa.  Also, for December births be sure to check the following year for misfiled registrations.  Each of the index formats varies slightly for this short period:

Vital Record 1901 1902 1903 Total
Births Name of child; names of parents; certificate number

Index to 37,711 certificates

Name of child; names of parents; certificate number

Index to 38,598 certificates

Name of child; certificate number

Index to 51,494 certificates

127,803 birth records
Marriages Name of Husband;  Maiden Name of Wife; certificate number

 

Index to 17,041 certificates by Groom

Name of Husband;  Maiden Name of Wife; certificate number

 

Index to 18,950 certificates by Groom

Name of Husband; Date of Marriage; certificate number; Column for Maiden Name of wife is blank.

 

Index to 19,787 certificates by Groom

55,778 marriage

records

Deaths Name and certificate number; some notations on locations for multiple same name entries; notations for race [B- black]

 

Index to 32,114 certificates

Name and certificate number; some notations on locations for multiple same name entries

*Published in book form.

 

Index to 31,874 certificates

Name and certificate number; some notations on locations for multiple same name entries; notations for race [B- black]

 

Index to 32,227 certificates

96,215 death records

Bride’s Indexes:  1901-1914
Beginning in 1904, another change was made to the arrangement of the certificates filed with the Department of Health.  Certificates are arranged alphabetically by calendar year. In essence all marriage certificates are filed by Groom’s surname, thus creating a gap of finding women under their maiden name.  Researchers can eliminate this obstacle by using the Bride’s Indexes, but should note the index format varies slightly:

Vital Record 1901-03 1904-1909 1910-1914 Total
Marriages Maiden Name of Wife; Name of Husband;  unknown code; Certificate number; Year of Marriage

[computer printout of approximately 57 brides per page; unpaginated]

 

*Data does not correspond with printed page column titles. Most likely the place code is that “unknown” three digit number before the certificate number.

Maiden Name of Wife; Name of Husband; State File Number [annual volume & page]; Year of Marriage

[computer printout of approximately 57 brides per page; unpaginated]

 

Maiden Name of Wife; Name of Husband; State File Number [annual volume (first two digits) & page (last three digits]); Year of Marriage

[computer printout of approximately 57 brides per page; unpaginated]

 

330,772

marriage

records

  55,778 marriages 140,599 marriages 135,972 marriages

 

The final count…

Using the Annual Reports o of the Board of Health of the State of New Jersey and Report of the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the State of New Jersey[1] for the years of 1901 through 1914, the final tally for records access is almost 550,000 certificates.  Congratulations to Reclaim the Records!  The next step is getting the collection indexed.

Watch for Part 2: Using the Indexes

The companion blog post will detail links to the images and provide a companion PDF file that gives examples on how to use each index format.


[1] State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics; Annual Reports of the Registry and Returns of Marriages, Births and Deaths in the State of New Jersey, 1901-1914; State Board of Health/Department of Health Annual Reports, 1874 – 1975, Control #: SHE00002; New Jersey State Archives, Trenton.

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